Specialist knowledge identification, classification, and usage in company-specific new product development processes

M. S. Cross, S. Sivaloganathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


New product development is a complex process that requires industry-specific knowledge to produce commercially viable solutions, and it is this specialist knowledge that enables organizations to develop competitive advantage in their marketplaces. This research, conducted over 3 years at a UK capital equipment manufacturer, investigated the role of specialist knowledge in the design and development of products. The study concluded that, although different knowledge components are required for different projects, it is possible to adopt a generic approach to specialist knowledge identification, classification, and usage in new product developments. The current paper presents five methods that were used to identify specialist knowledge from engineering projects. The knowledge was then classified into ten categories that describe the specialist knowledge types used during commercial design projects. A model is presented illustrating when each specialist knowledge category is required in a typical development project. Organizations can use this approach to capture and structure the specialist knowledge components for a given product type, thus making available the knowledge to the wider organization and improving the organization's competitive advantage. The study was conducted as part of a project 'Developing company-specific design models', described in an earlier work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1298
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Company-specific knowledge
  • Design process model
  • Domain knowledge
  • New product development
  • Specialist knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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